you are going to use electrical appliances abroad, you need to know what
type of electrical voltage is used in the country where you're moving or
traveling to and what type of adapter or plug is needed to plug your appliances
into the outlet. Look at our diagrams
of adapter plugs to get an understanding of what
an adapter plug is.
appliances made for use in the U.S. work at 115 volts. While most of North
and South America, the Caribbean and Japan also use 110-voltage electricity,
most countries in Europe and other parts of the world have 220-volt electrical
outlets. (References to 110 or 220 volts are approximate; actual voltage
may vary in either case, but the amount of variance from the "official"
voltage is generally insignificant.)
can buy travel style voltage
converters that will convert 110-volt appliances to 220, however, to
complicate matters there are different types of converters for different
types of appliances. Small electronics, razors and non-heating appliances
will need a 50-watt converter. Heating appliances such as dryers, irons,
coffee makers and other high-power electrical appliances need a 1600-watt
converter. You can also purchase larger converters for heavier wattage.
Check the label on your electrical appliance to find its wattage. To further
complicate matters, some electronics such as TV's, VCRs and computers are
designed for 60 cycles-per-second (HZ) electricity and cannot tolerate
the 50 cycles-per-second (HZ) electricity found in many countries. Even
if you have the right converter you run the risk of blowing a fuse in your
hotel or burning out your electrical appliances.
Given the complexities
of safely using your electrical appliances overseas, you may want to consider
some alternatives. If you plan on staying in one country for awhile, you
might want to buy a hair dryer or electric razor there. Battery operated
appliances are another option if you don't mind constantly replacing the
batteries. Or, you can do as many experienced travelers do and leave all
the electrical appliances at home. You probably don't really need them
and they're often more trouble than they're worth overseas. It is possible
to convert an entire house; so that it has both 115 and 220 at your option.
A professional must install a converter. You end up with two sets
of plugs, but that's preferable to throwing away valuable appliances, or
If you must
take some electrical appliances with you abroad, your best bet is to buy
travel-size dual-voltage appliances that can run on both 110 and 220 currents.
In fact it is a very good idea to do so.